Which Star Wars Movie Comes First?

If you’re new to the Star Wars franchise, you may be wondering which movie to start with. With so many movies, TV shows, and spin-offs, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin. In this article, we’ll break down the Star Wars timeline and recommend the best order to watch the movies.

Understanding the Timeline

The Star Wars franchise is set in a fictional galaxy far, far away and spans several decades. The original trilogy of movies was released in the late 1970s and early 1980s, followed by a prequel trilogy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. More recently, a sequel trilogy was released in the 2010s.

The Release Order

The easiest way to watch Star Wars is in release order. This means starting with Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) and watching through to Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). While this order may seem confusing at first since it starts in the middle of the story, it allows viewers to experience the franchise as it was originally intended.

  • Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) – This is where it all began. We meet Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca as they fight against Darth Vader and his evil Empire.
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The Rebels face their toughest battle yet as Darth Vader hunts them down.

    Meanwhile, Luke trains with Jedi Master Yoda.

  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) – The Rebels launch a final attack against the Empire as Luke confronts Darth Vader.
  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – This prequel introduces us to a young Anakin Skywalker and shows how the Republic became the Empire.
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) – Anakin grows into a young adult and falls in love with Padm√© Amidala. Meanwhile, the Clone Wars begin.
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – Anakin turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. The Jedi are hunted down as the Empire rises to power.
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) – A new generation of heroes, including Rey, Finn, and Poe, join forces with original characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca to fight against the First Order.
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) – Rey trains with Luke Skywalker as the Resistance faces off against Kylo Ren and the First Order.
  • Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – The final battle between good and evil takes place as Rey confronts Emperor Palpatine and brings an end to the Skywalker saga.

The Chronological Order

Alternatively, you can watch Star Wars in chronological order. This means starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace and watching through to Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. While this order may provide more context for certain storylines, it can also be confusing for viewers who are not familiar with the franchise.

The Machete Order

Another popular viewing order is called “The Machete Order.” This order starts with Episode IV: A New Hope, then jumps back to Episode II: Attack of the Clones before finishing with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. After that, it goes back to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and continues on with the rest of the movies in release order.

The idea behind this order is to preserve the twist in The Empire Strikes Back by watching it before Revenge of the Sith. This order also skips over The Phantom Menace, which some viewers find unnecessary to the overall story.


There’s no right or wrong way to watch Star Wars. Whether you choose to watch in release order, chronological order, or another viewing order altogether, each option provides a unique viewing experience. So grab some popcorn and may the Force be with you!